Most of us bring a lot of baggage with us to our weight loss experience. We tend to dwell on how we used to look and feel years ago, how many different diets we have tried and failed at, what we used to wear, what we used to look like in pictures, and why we can’t lose weight once and for all. Sound familiar? The fact that 95% of diets fail people is telling in itself. So let’s unpack a few things: first, diets do work when we do them and when we keep doing them. Whether that means eating differently and/or implementing consistent exercise or movement, people do lose weight when healthier food is eaten in reasonable amounts and when people add movement to their daily routine.
The issue for most of us is continuing with these healthier habits for a long time. It can feel so good to start dropping weight after eating differently, so why don’t most people adopt it as a lifestyle instead of a diet that usually only lasts for a short time?
What is really happening?
In our culture, people want everything to happen fast without a ton of effort. Instant gratification has become an expectation for most people. Why? Well, we like to see fast results without too much effort. So, when we see quick results, we are confused why they are not usually long lasting. For us humans, it is easy to quit or give up. It’s harder to stick it out and to put in the hard work. For example, my friends and family know that I rarely eat birthday dessert at a gathering. It’s ironic that I’m always the official ice cream scooper even though I seldom eat any of it. In fact, we all find it funny and I enjoy playing along with my special job. Many years ago, I knew that desserts did not serve me as healthy fuel and I usually felt awful after eating them. So, it became the norm for me to only eat sweets occasionally, regardless if everyone else was partaking around me. I chose for it to be something that I eliminated and it is a practice that still holds true today. Again, I do eat desserts from time to time, but it is not a habit to do so. It is automatic for me to say, “no thank you”. I’ve learned to do what works for my fuel needs and my body.
In addition, I have had to learn how to hold the critics at arm’s length and to not let their opinions bother me. It takes some courage, consistency, and lots of practice and is worth the effort in the end! I can truthfully say that people usually don’t even bother asking me if I want dessert any more.
Message received! I’ve developed a thicker skin for saying “no thank you” and had to earn people’s respect for my choices. If I can do it, you can, too!
As you think more intentionally about your weight loss goals as summer approaches, here are 5 ways to change your mindset around weight loss!
1. Write down your goal
When we physically write down our goals, they are more ingrained in our brains. It’s almost as if we are writing a declaration and an agreement with the intention to follow through. Honor your goals by writing them down to see them as a reminder of your commitment to a healthier you. Use paper and pen or an electronic tool; do what works best for you!
2. Find your why
In order to know what results you want to achieve, you need to find your why. The purpose for this goal has to be clear and important enough to you to work toward. The reasons people want to lose weight are as varied as the different kinds of people there are in the world. Choose your why so that you find a grounded purpose and motivation. “Just because” will fizzle out much faster than wanting to lose 25 pounds and to get off your diabetic medication, for example.
3. Create your future self profile
What does your future self look and feel like on the inside and out? This step cannot be missed as you embark on shedding pounds. Close your eyes and give this some serious thought and attention. Write down a profile of how you want to look and feel. Be specific. You may even want to draw or find a picture of what that might look like to give you a focal point. It’s often common for people to hang a picture of their future self in their closet as inspiration.
4. Make a specific plan
If this is where you have stumbled in the past trying to do it on your own, hire a coach! You are worth the investment! This is what I do to guide my clients, to hold them accountable, and to cheer them on all the way through the journey. Be specific about how you are going to do this. Learn about different eating plans and lifestyles and find the one that fits you and that gets you excited about doing the work. Keep good strategies that worked for you in the past (i.e. tracking your food) and adopt new ones that you want to implement. Be realistic: if you don’t like meat, for example, paleo or keto diets are not your best bet, so find something else. There are more ways to eat than you can even imagine, so do your homework and find what fits your needs. Better yet, work with a coach to do so.
Get a new blank calendar and schedule your exercise as you do for other important events and appointments and honor those commitments without fail. Writing things down is helpful. Whatever you decide, you will be more successful when you enjoy what you are doing so that it can be a long lasting habit instead of the next crash and burn weight loss episode in your life. Make this time a different experience! Better yet, make it the last “diet” you ever start. I call it a lifestyle to better reflect how I want to live my life for a long time instead of the next fad.
5. Take one step at a time
You’ve heard me say this before: Put one foot in front of the other by taking one small step at a time!
Pick ONE action step and take action to start NOW. Nothing worth doing is ever rushed; one step at a time is how goals get achieved. Here’s a helpful visual: imagine that you are standing at the bottom of a very large staircase. Look up to the top step! We never just leap up to the top in one fell swoop, do we? Not at all! We climb the staircase one small step at a time until we reach the top. Be patient, kind, and compassionate to yourself knowing that you need to take one small step at a time. You’ll get to the top in due time and when you’re there, I hope you’re inspired to stay there after all of your hard work! I promise you that it is worth the climb! It has been for me!
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Written by: Georgette LePage, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.